Seminars

Fall 2013 Graduate Course Offerings

Course # Course Title Instructor Class Hours
CSTSB675001 Interpreting Mythology

Radcliffe Edmonds

MW 2:30-4:00
GREKB603001 Greek Patrology  Catherine Conybeare T 2:00-4:00
GREKB601001 Homer: Iliad Robin Mitchell-Boyask W 4:00-6:00
LATNB671001 Fasti Russell Scott TH 2:00-4:00

Spring 2014 Graduate Course Offerings

Course # Course Title Instructor Class Hours
LATNB605001

Augustine's Confessions

Catherine Conybeare    M 2:30-5
LATNB640001 Imperial Latin Literature-Seneca: Tragedies Annette Baertschi T 2:00-4:00
GREKB644001 Plato Radcliffe Edmonds   W 1:00-4:00
LATNB613001 Livy & the Conquest/Mediterran Russell Scott TH 2:00-4:00

Classical Studies Seminar Descriptions

 

CSTS 311 Socrates and the Sophists (course is taught@ Haverford College)
R. Sharma
This course examines Plato’s attempt to distinguish his Socrates from some of the main representatives of the “Sophistic movement” of the 5th century BCE. Please note: this course demands a working knowledge of Ancient Greek. The course is open to Haverford and Bryn Mawr undergraduates (who may sign up through the Classics or Philosophy Departments) as well as to Bryn Mawr graduate students in Classics. The main texts will be Plato’s Protagoras and Republic I, which students will read in Ancient Greek. Several other Platonic dialogues will be used as secondary texts; the students will study them in English. (Probable candidates are Theaetetus and Euthydemus, and perhaps Hippias Major and Hippias Minor.) In addition, the students will be expected to read a range of secondary material. Bryn Mawr graduate students taking the course will also read Plato’s Gorgias (and perhaps Euthydemus) in Ancient Greek. Cross-listed in Philosophy.

CSTS 609 Archaic Greek Lyric Poetry
The study of Greek lyric poetry is largely a study of fragments, and this seminar will essay (and assay) three approaches. First we will consider the poetic persona through a quick reading of David Campbell's Greek Lyric Poetry, concentrating on Archilochus, Sappho, Alcaeus, Solon and Bacchylides, followed by a brief introduction to Pindar. Then we will consider genre, particularly iambic blame poetry and various forms of choral lyric (epinikion, partheneion, paean, dithyramb). Finally we will consider context (symposium, agora; contest, inscription).

There will be two short papers and biweekly oral reports.

CSTS 628 The Greek Comic Tradition  
R. Hamilton

This seminar will focus on Aristophanes, two of whose plays we will read in Greek (Clouds, Thesmophoriazusae), with the others read in English. We will begin by exploring two earlier comic trends (broadly defined): satire (Hesiod, Semonides, Hipponax) and ritual performance (komasts, padded dancers). We will end by reading Menander's Samia in Greek and his other major fragments (Epitrepontes, Aspis) in English.

CSTS 647 Poets and Patrons in Flavian Rome
B. Mulligan

A seminar on the Silvae + selections from the early books of Martial (with some encomiastic and epigrammatic material from other authors to round it out: Vergil, Horace, Quintilian, Greek Anthology (?)). We'll look at these works as part of a consideration of occasional poetry and patronage with a focus on Flavian Rome.

CSTS 650 Delos from the Archaic to the Roman Period
R. Hamilton

The course will begin with a brief overview of the island's history and then spend the first half of the seminar considering the epigraphical and archaeological record of the site, including student reports on the main areas on the island. The second half of the seminar will focus on the implications this record has for our understanding of a variety of topics such as the power of Apollo, cult practice, religion and politics, public and domestic architecture, and artifacts of all sorts. We plan to have several guest lecturers, including William J. Slater (McMaster).

There will be two oral reports, two epigraphical exercises, and a term paper. A reading knowledge of French is required.

CSTS 663 Epistolography
C. Conybeare

Ancient letter-writing is suddenly garnering scholarly attention. Letters are being read by those with literary and philosophical interests, not simply mined for historical detail. While this course will attend to various categories of letters - embedded letters, inscribed letters, letters primarily for literary display - our principal focus will be letters which were actually sent, and particularly correspondence of which both sides survives to us. We shall cover a wide chronological range, from the first century BC to the fifth century AD; our most sustained investigation will be of the letters of Cicero, Pliny, and Augustine, though we shall encompass many others along the way. In addition to the specific circumstances in which the letters were sent, we shall also address wider questions: how do letters negotiate the absence of their addressee? what ideas of friendship, or other affective connection, do they perform? what ideas of the self are entailed? how are ancient ideas of public and private letters played out? Finally, does it even make sense to speak of a separate genre of epistolography? The wide range of the course should make for some exciting answers.

CSTS 669 Lucan and Historical Epic
A.M. Baertschi

Lucan’s Bellum civile, the poetic account of the civil war that arose between Caesar and Pompey and culminated in the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BCE, is one of the most overtly political and rebellious works of Latin literature. The author represents the conflict as the ultimate crisis of Roman history and makes no secret of his bitter disappointment at the failure of the principate, established by Augustus in the wake of it. At the same time Lucan flouts the accepted narrative conventions of epic poetry and undermines the genre’s traditional content and decorum. His deliberate defiance and radical transformation of (historical) epic have fascinated readers at all times, whether they strongly disapproved or enthusiastically applauded the temerity and visionary power of his reinvention.

In this seminar we will read and discuss as much of the Bellum civile as possible together with a great deal of (recent) secondary literature. We will focus on such aspects as the epic’s historical context and ideological stance, the development of recurrent motifs, the literary precedessors, the use of allusion and nature of intertextuality, the language and rhetorical quality as well as the reception of the poem. There will be two or three short papers, frequent oral presentations and a final paper.

CSTS 670 Greek Scholia

We will spend the first half of the semester reading Eleanor Dickey's new book Ancient Greek Scholarship and work through her selection of types of scholia, while at the same time getting a sense of how the history of Greek scholarship can be reconstructed by reading the first half of Scribes and Scholars and volume one of Pfeifffer's History of Classical Scholarship. We will then examine in some detail the scholia to Homer and Pindar and end by transcribing the important but still unedited predecessor to the Etymologicum Magnum, the Etymologicum Genuinum.

CSTS 675 Interpreting Mythology
R. Edmonds
The myths of the Greeks have provoked outrage and fascination, interpretation and retelling, censorship and elaboration, beginning with the Greeks themselves. We will see how some of these stories have been read and understood, recounted and revised, in various cultures and eras, from ancient tellings to modern movies. We will also explore some of the interpretive theories by which these tales have been understood, from ancient allegory to modern structural and semiotic theories. In addition, we will examine the ways in which myth may be taught in the college classroom.

The student should gain a more profound understanding of the meaning of these myths to the Greeks themselves, of the cultural context in which they were formulated. At the same time, this course should provide the student with some familiarity with the range of interpretations and strategies of understanding that people of various cultures and times have applied to the Greek myths during the more than two millennia in which they have been preserved.

Greek Seminar Descriptions

 

GREEK 601 Approaches to Homeric Epic
Asya Sigelman
We will focus on a careful reading of significant portions of the Homeric epics and on the history of Homeric scholarship. Students will develop an appreciation both for the beauty of Homer's poetics and for the scholarly arguments surrounding interpretation of these texts.

GREEK 602 Approaches to Homeric Epic
A close study of the Homeric Iliad, and a survey of some major scholarly "camps" surrounding its interpretation. In addition to reading much of the epic in Greek, students should also expect to engage the methodologies that have been used to approach this peculiar, monumental poem. Oralist, narratological, neo-analytic, linguistic, historical and Marxist readings will be applied and dissected. Two oral reports and a research paper will be expected.

GREEK 609 Pindar's Odes
We will begin with a careful reading of Pindar's shorter odes, then proceed to his most famous long odes (Olympian 1, Pythian 3, Pythian 1) and then consider interpretative strategies (past, present, and future) as we survey the rest of the odes

GREEK 627 Fragmentary Greek Literature: Euripides
This seminar provides an introduction to the study of fragmentary literature by focusing on the lost dramas of Euripides . Our goal is to acquire a critical awareness of the challenges and possibilities offered by the study of fragments (including non-dramatic fragments such as Sappho). We consider the criteria for editing and interpreting fragmentary texts as we survey the most important sources and highlighting the problems that pertain to each. After this evaluation of the evidence, we then test the extent to which we can securely reconstruct a particular play. To conclude, we explore how these fragments can shed new light on our understanding of Euripidean drama.

GREEK 633 Epigraphic Sources for Greek Religion
Substantial, various and constantly increasing the mass of ancient inscriptions provides precious first-hand information about the Greek culture. As an introduction to the study of inscriptions, we will review basic topics: history of the alphabet and dialectal particularities, Greek epigraphic habit, various aspects and functions of the epigraphic documents. Through case studies, we will discuss the contribution of inscriptions for understanding specific phenomena of Greek social and economic life such as euergesia and the role of women in the public sphere. In particular, we will focus our attention on the value of epigraphic evidence for variety of topics in the domain of Greek religion: sacrificial practices, priesthoods, religious associations, calendar and festivals, key concepts such as purity and pollution, relations between colony and mother city, interaction with non-Greek religious traditions etc.

GREEK 635 Problems in Athenian History
In one of his novels Stephen Zweig says that when one is studying an epoch, a good way to begin is to try to understand the age of its acme. The seminar will explore several aspects of the Athenian paideia, in the sense of historically active behavior. We will discuss more specifically the transformations of the aristocratic polis in the 6th century BC, the foundation, the functioning, and the values of the democracy in the 5th century. We will examine the reforms of Solon, Pisistratus, and the period from the reforms of Cleisthenes until the death of Pericles. The documentary basis for Athenian history is fortunately rich and we will build our discussion on a selection of texts from different genres; Thucydides, Aristotle, and Plato will be among the most important sources of inspiration.

GREEK 643 Readings in Greek History: Herodotus, Thucydides and the Attic Historians

We will consider the primary issues for the authors and also the issues that may rather be our own. These include the technical issues of historiography—what history is and how it achieves its goals; historical causation and relevance; exactness or reliability, bias and viewpoint. We will also attend to social justice, which for us means race, class and gender: what was it for the Greeks?

GREEK 644 Greek Hexameter Poetry: A Survey

This survey of Greek hexameter poetry from the 8th C. through the 3rd C. BC will begin with a broad comparison of early and late hexametric hymns, move to an equally broad comparison of early and late narrative hexameter and end with a chronological overview of "didactic" hexameter from Hesiod to Aratus exploring the relationship between oral poetry and authority. There will be three short papers, several short oral reports and several attempts at hexametric composition.

Latin Seminar Descriptions

 

LATIN 612 Tacitus
R.T. Scott
The reputation of Tacitus as a conscientious historian has been markedly improved in recent years by the discovery of some of the kinds of records he purportedly used in writing the Annals. No such good fortune has come to the Histories, although the three book unit on the civil war of 69 A.D. remains impressive in design and execution. We will first study the historian's methods and ideological stance in this work and then move on to the Tiberian hexad of the Annals to investigate consistency and change in his approach to imperial history. There will be regular oral reports and a final paper.

LATIN 312/619 Roman Satire
C. Conybeare
Satire is the most slippery and subversive of genres. It is richly entertaining to read, but if we engage with it seriously it is often abrasive, shocking, shattering. Reading Roman satire requires an energetic exercise in cultural translation: we are confronted with the alienness of the Roman world, as well as its perverse literary vigour.

This course will span four turbulent centuries of Roman imperialism in its reading of Roman satire. We will range from the sharp minutiae of social observation in Horace's Sermones to the calculated public abuse of a eunuch consul in Claudian's In Eutropium; from the swirling filthy riches of Persius and Juvenal to the nastily eloquent Christian condemnation of riches (and much else) in St Jerome. Students are warned: the language is difficult, the content often excoriating, even if exquisitely expressed. Reading this material challenges any comfortable separation between "literature" and "life".

LATIN 637  Vergil’s Aeneid
In this seminar we will read all of the Aeneid and as much secondary literature as we can. The focus will be on close reading and literary interpretation of the text, with attention to the epic’s literary antecedents, historical context, and relation to the Augustan program. Students will write two or three short papers, give frequent short presentations, and write a final paper.

LATIN 650 Topics in Latin Literature
Topics course. Course content varies.

Fall 2011Topic: Statius, Thebaid
Annette Baertschi
Statius’ epic poem on the intra-familial war in mythic Thebes following Oedipus’ abdication as king, the Thebaid, has moved from scholarly neglect to being the focus of immense interest and research in recent years. This seminar introduces students to the Thebaid and the scholarship it has produced, as well as familiarizes them with important aspects of Flavian culture. Both Statius’ poetic work and the reign of the Flavian emperors are characterized by the ambivalent desire to create continuity while simultaneously distancing themselves from the past and claiming innovation. Particular attention will thus be paid to Statius’ engagement with the literary tradition, especially Homer, Vergil, Lucan, and Greek tragedy, as well as his strategies to mark his departure from earlier poetic practices. At the same time, we shall explore how Statius in his work responds to the changing political, social, and material contexts of his culture. Other topics that we shall discuss are the nature of imperial patronage, Flavian agonistic culture and cultural eclecticism, the formation of a literary canon, ideologies of power, and the poetics of civil war. Finally, this seminar will give students the opportunity to enlarge their Latin reading skills and to become conversant with features of language and style that are significantly different from those of the Augustan poets.

Spring 2012 Topic: The Fall of Rome
Catherine Conybeare
When Rome was sacked in 410 CE, how did people respond? Was this the collapse of the Roman empire - or was the heart of empire already elsewhere? We shall address this question particularly through Christian eyes, reading Augustine's sermons and Jerome's letters from the period, and paying special attention to Augustine's magisterial elaboration, in the City of God, of the issues at stake.

LATIN 652 Topics in Roman History and Historiography in the 2nd and 1st Centuries BCE

R.T. Scott

Topics to be addressed include the rise of Roman historiography as well as the rise of Rome in the Mediterranean world, the nature of Roman "imperialism" and its consequences for the mid-republican political organization of the state.